Senate Panel To Focus On Problems At Continuing Care Retirement Communities With Large Fees
The Wall Street Journal: A Senate Committee will hold hearings Wednesday about "continuing-care retirement communities," which charge large up-front fees to care for seniors for life. "CCRCs offer a range of care - from independent-living apartments to skilled nursing facilities - that allows seniors to 'age in place.' These communities often collect six-figure entrance fees that can help finance construction and are sometimes refundable to a resident's heirs after a unit is reoccupied." The hearing will come the same day as a Government Accountability Office report urging states to scrutinize such communities. During the boom, investors flocked to the communities because of their use of high-yield municipal bonds, but as demand dropped, some were thrown into financial turmoil. "The report names unexpected increases in monthly fees and the loss of the refundable entrance fee as potential risks to seniors who live in a community that is struggling financially" (Troianovski, 7/21).
Meanwhile, lobbying news is also emerging from Capitol Hill.
The Hill: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a website that will allow businesses to talk about their problems with the health reform law. "The business lobbying group will launch the site next Monday in Washington surrounded by business leaders and conservative lawmakers, including Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.). Johanns last week introduced legislation to repeal a controversial provision of the healthcare law that requires businesses to file 1099 forms when they purchase goods from another business in excess of $600." The chamber was one of the most outspoken critics of the Democrats' health bill (Lillis, 7/20).
The Hill, in a separate story: In the meantime, health reform has been a boon for lobbying profits. "Patton Boggs, usually the top firm on K Street, reported earning $20.8 million in lobbying fees so far this year. That's a 12 percent increase over its performance at this point in 2009. Washington's second-biggest lobbying shop, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, reported revenue of $18.2 million for the first half of the year, an increase of 13 percent from mid-2009. K Street is coming off a remarkably active legislative calendar. After President Obama signed the healthcare reform bill in March, lobbyists had to stay in high gear to keep tabs on the financial services reform legislation." Some lobbyists now expect a slowdown (Bogardus and Stiles, 7/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.